Friday, November 10, 2006


I started my writer's workshop on Wednesday. I got my notepad and pen, my chair and reading glasses all in the room with me. I sit down with every intention of doing nothing but my very best work. I loved it. I certainly am learning valid things about writing. I also feel great doing it online because of the fact that I am anonymous. I am not focused on how nervous I would be if I was in a classroom around strangers, critics.. I am comfortably in my own house, safe in a room with the heat up and a candle lit. I feel more at ease meeting my classmates online, through their own writing. We comment and read on to the next classmate and I find myself completely involved. I love that.

Today was my second lesson. It was all about detail. I must say I learned very much from this lesson. I am always the kind of reader to skip over paragraphs of overly desriptive parts in the books that I read. But today I learned for the first time how to describe things. How to write descriptively without being matter of fact, or boring. I liked it. We had to light a candle and write about it in one paragraph. Keeping in mind what we just learned about description. I wrote it out, feeling a bit sick to my stomach, hoping it is the best piece in the class. I carefully put my arrow to Submit and clicked, with one quick motion of my forefinger. I read on to find my classmates had a whole other idea of this assignment. Perhaps I failed to recognize that describing the candle is what was most important. I liked my piece because it was unique, but at the same time, less descriptive in comparison to my classmates. Boooo!

I asked Rob to sit and listen to three samples, one being mine. I told him to tell me his favourite, even if he knew it wasn't mine. I told him to be honest and that I wouldn't mind. I left mine for last. He liked the first two because they were brilliant. But he knew mine was last, saying it was good. I felt as I read my work outloud,that my voice began to quiver, as doubt took over my thoughts. I wished suddenly that I had not asked this of him, that he didn't even have a clue what I was in here writing about. I take criticism of any kind the wrong way. I can't help it. It's like being jealous. Jealousy is an ugly emotion. It causes people to say irrational things, to burst out in tears or in anger. I felt like my reaction to Rob's answer would be like this. When he told me that mine could've been more descriptive because that was in fact what the class was all about today, I felt myself shut down and I turned my face before it turned red. Saying that I needed to check my e-mail and then I'd come out of the room. I feel like a fool. Even though I am sure he doesn't.

I feel like the underdog, already. For once in my life I am doing something that I want to do in my life. I am completely into it and focused on bettering my skills. But at the same time there is a sense of competition, to be the best, or at least one of the best. My competition is pretty intense. I have so many people in my class that are parents, retired grandmother's, business owners, stay at home mother's, you name it! These people are from all over the world and seem to carry loads and loads of more experience than me. Although I am aware that this is for me and not for me to compare myself to grandmother's or retired teacher's.

This experience is already worth the $169.00 that I spontaneously put on my mastercard! I am having a lot of fun writing of course. I am also enjoying my classmates comments on some of my work already. I have to wait for the comments on my candle piece to come.... I am anxious, nervous and a little shakey of what everyone will think. But it's also exhilerating. I suggest that some of you bloggers might want to check something like this out. It's really good for a writer, just waiting to write...

The Wild Flame

I breathe in and exhale and I notice the flame peaking out from within the candle is thrashing wildly. Why is it that every time one is lit, and the lights are turned off a feeling of calmness and peace take over my body and mind? I feel relaxed and at ease, as the pale pink wax glows in the dark. The flame violently whips in all directions and it leaves me to wonder what caused it to do this. I am completely alone in the room and have not moved. Perhaps a candle is used for more than just light or decoration. Maybe it is a way of knowing that I am in fact not alone. There could be beings or lost souls swimming in and out of each room, each house. Only passing through, causing the flame in my candle, my source of light and comfort to quiver..


Erin said...

Good for you Haley for doing something you enjoy. I think your piece you wrote was great! Remember you are taking the class to learn and the best way to learn is to make mistakes. I think you will do a fab job!

Pablo said...

Hey Haley, how are ya? i know its been forever since we've talked or seen eachother... but I wanted to check out your blog space after seeing your hi5!

Haley... I'm so glad that you're doing something you love and for something that includes both passion and artistic ingenuity... and of course lives that are everything but insipid! I remember you saying you wanted to be an author ever since Mrs. Grobel's class, in Gr.3! And hey i thought your piece was great, like don't let yourself get down because yours wasn't like everyone else! it's those unique individuals that grab attention!

As you mentioned you learned alot from that class because of what it made you go through... and that's exactly it we learn from criticism and from the emotions that are uncontrollable and self- destructive (e.i. jealousy, anger, sadness... depression)... "What doesn't kill me only makes me stronger."
So keep at it tenaciously, and in time, nothing will stop you! It's all about how you perceive yourself & it'll be reality.

Well, Haley miss you lots... and lets keep more in touch. message me at ... And remember to keep on rockin' in the free world!
...Ciao Bella!... ...Pablo

Chubby Chocolate said...

Glad to read you're still in high spirits, Haley. It's been a while!

That was a good post...Life is to short-Good to read you're doing something that makes you happy!!!!

ENJOY IT!!!!!!!

holli said...

First off - I really liked your entry today, because you described my reaction to perceived rejection to a T. Sometimes I can't stop myself even when I want to. And it's usually only about creative things - nothing else.

Was this the piece about the candle you wrote for the class. I honestly (as an ex English teacher) liked it, because it pulled something entirely different into the mix - WHY the flame flickers when there is nothing else in the room, even a breeze. But if you specifically have to stick to a lesson plan and follow it - I didn't read the instructions so I don't know. If that's all you were criticized for - I think that's okay.

I'm glad you're doing this - I think you're an excellent writer.. and I know you can make this work.

Whisky said...


I've managed to get a copy of the complete writers beurau (sp) course, and can't wait to delve into its delights. I've set myself a goal of starting my book on New years day.
Maybe you should do another blog with hints and tips for fellow writers, cos you've sure got the talent!

Take care

Hugs and warm Christmas Wishes



Haley said...

Pablo!! I'm just 7 years late on replying!! I'm sure you won't get this now. But if you do, thank you for following my blog... And writing your kind words. I'll try and find you via Facebook. Thanks everyone for your comments!!